Sunday 15 November 2015

Hanging up the keyboard.

As of November 2015 I closed my transcription business to take a break and consider other options to utilise my considerable skills. I hope that the few posts on my blog may be an interesting read of the life and times of a professional typist.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

Happy Birthday to my Typing and Transcription Services Business

Yesterday, on 30 June 2014 my typing and transcription services business celebrated its 21st birthday.  Little did I know on that day back in 1993 that my business would survive many dips and flourish to celebrate its coming of age.

There have been many ups and downs along the way and things have changed out of all recognition since the days when I started typing for a living, often transcribing mini, micro and standard audio cassettes where the quality was more often than not absolutely dire!

These days the digital recording quality is usually fantastic, even for those interviews which academics conduct in a busy public place such as a restaurant of coffee house.

I have spent quality hours grappling to decipher the squiggles of 'interesting' handwriting, typed and formatted hundreds of CVs and transcribed thousands of hours of dialogue of recorded interviews with a huge variety of dialects and accents.  In my line of work variety has certainly turned out to be the spice of life!

It's not often that I manage to escape the keyboard but after winning the prestigious #SBS award I was thrilled to meet Theo Paphitis to receive the award.

It's been a journey and a half, that's for sure and for the foreseeable future I shall continue to provide typing and transcription services to whoever wants the written or spoken word accurately placed in a document.  So as my logo goes 'for all your typing needs' I'm your typist!

KPS Audio Typing and Transcription Services

Monday 2 April 2012

Theo Paphitis Honours My Transcription Services.

It's not very often that I manage to escape the keyboard, but on Friday 30 March, my  internet based typing and transcription services company, KPS - Audio Typing and Transcription Services, joined entrepreneur Theo Paphitis of BBC's Dragon's Den at a networking event in Birmingham on Friday 30 March after being selected as one of his six favourite small businesses in his weekly Twitter competition known as Small Business Sunday or #SBS.

Theo Paphitis and KPS - Audio Typing and Transcription Services.
Theo Paphitis presents Lesley Kemp with the winners certificate.
Mr Paphitis selected Kemp Professional Services in January 2011 and tweeted his decision to his 223,000 followers.  I was absolutely delighted when the congratulatory tweets started arriving to my Twitter handle, not to mention the kudos of having a nod of approval from such a successful businessman.

As a winner, my business is eligible for a profile on the winners website which will undoubtedly generate valuable exposure to my target customers not to mention the advice and further networking opportunities.

KPS was established in 1993 and has been in the fortunate position of having a steady flow of work despite the difficulties the recession has thrown up but this experience has turned out to be a very welcome boost for business.

It was an honour and a pleasure to meet Mr Paphitis.  His passion for business is infectious and support for the small business like a ray of sunshine in these difficult times.

Tuesday 7 February 2012

Transcription Services

Today I am delighted and proud to announce that my little business, KPS - Audio Typing and Transcription Services, has been appointed supplier to a leading financial and legal services corporation.  Forgive me, but I am having trouble wiping the smile off my face, which will probably add a few more laughter lines, but what the heck!

Of course, these opportunities don't just fall out of the sky, although being in the right place at the right time does help a little.  I have worked hard to market my services and target the sorts of companies which would benefit from my first rate transcription services - and all my efforts have paid off!

Now the really hard work will commence as I settle down to undertake the assignments which will regularly come my way in terms of digital voice files which I will transcribe in complete confidence for my shiny new client.

Friday 10 June 2011

Testimonials for my Audio Typing and Transcription Services.

A selection of testimonials from satisfied customers of KPS Audio Typing and Transcription Services:

“Lesley has provided an excellent service to our company on a number of occasions. Lesley is always a pleasure to work with and has always provided excellent results at short notice.” Employee Relations Professional, Global Workplace Solutions Organisation.

“I've hired Lesley for transcription services and always found her very reliable and professional. She has always delivered a very high quality of service. She is also very personable and offers a good value service.” Senior Learning Developer.

“Prompt, accurate, dedicated. She truly appreciates urgency and co-operation to get the job right and on time.” Barrister at Law.

“Lesley’s prompt service is invaluable to professionals wanting quick and accurate results. Highly recommended.” Partner in Legal Firm.

“Lesley has provided accurate and timely transcripts for me on several occasions when deadlines needed to be met. Her work, even under pressure, is of high professional standard.” Consultant/Trainer of Educational Media Production Training.

“When I found myself in need of transcription services for a social research project, Lesley was recommended by a colleague of mine. I found it quick and easy to develop a friendly and productive working relationship with Lesley and I am very pleased with the results. Interview transcription for social scientists is a specialised task, which fortunately Lesley is highly experienced in. From technically demanding interview material, Lesley returned transcripts completed to a high standard of accuracy and readability, that I could start work on without delay. I am pleased to recommend Lesley to those requiring transcription services and wish her continuing success in her role.” Research Associate, University of Manchester.

“Lesley is great to work with and be trusted to deliver high quality results on time. I recommend her every time.” Professor at UWIC.

“Her work is always precise, accurate and great value. Lesley is always helpful and flexible to our needs and quick turnaround times. We wouldn't want to trust anyone else with our transcription needs.” Video Producer.

“KPS provides a high quality service at a very competitive rate. I would strongly recommend Lesley to anyone who requires accurate and well presented audio transcription. Lesley delivers top quality work and is very flexible in her approach. She is willing to work unsocial hours to meet deadlines and her work is very good value for money.Independent Documentary and Business News Producer.

“Lesley does a lot of transcription for my professional publishing service. She turns round audio tapes on complex technical issues in good time and with 100% accuracy. The vocabulary never escapes her. She produces high quality work and her service is excellent value for money.” IFRS Director, ESSEC Business School and Owner, Publishing Service.

“I used Lesley a number of years ago, she is extremely personable & professional, very conscientious with the utmost reliability. I would recommend her services to anybody wishing to make an impression via her eloquent & articulate writing skills for presentation purposes. She has a huge grasp & understanding of the necessity of being familiar with clients attentive needs & requirements, with the utmost of detail of any typing task.” Entrepreneur.

“Lesley always supplies accurate transcriptions, on time and on budget. She is flexible and easy to work with.” Independent Media Production Professional.

“I used Lesley for a number of complex strategy and technical papers, due to secrecy and staff illness. I was delighted with the quality and speed of the service, even when the subject matter was really difficult to understand. Although I can type quite fast myself, it proved very cost effective to send work to Lesley and get on with my main activity in the business. I will be using Lesley in my new business and recommend her highly.Company Director and Lecturer in Innovation Management.

“Lesley delivers a courteous and professional service swiftly and at a good price.” Production Director and Lecturer in Film and Television Studies.

“Lesley is a pleasure to work with. One knows if Lesley is hired that the service will be excellent with fine attention to detail and delivered on time. She is one hundred percent reliable. I would thoroughly recommend her.” Managing Director, Media Company.

Thursday 26 August 2010

Typing of Audio Digital Transcription Video Footage

Yesterday evening I transcribed a series of short financial videos for a client. I was given plenty of notice for the job but knew that I would not be receiving the digital files until early evening which then needed to be turned around very quickly. Sometimes burning the midnight oil is part and parcel of my job!

It never ceases to amaze me how much has changed in the transcription industry since I first set up shop back in 1993. In those days I was struggling to hear the inferior quality of analogue cassettes and tapes, not to mention the dreadful earphones. I now use state of the art headphones which cut out all external noises and the recorded dialogue arrives in my home office via digital recordings, either as email attachments or uploaded via my website.

I expect that one day when voice activated software is sophisticated enough, folk like me will be redundant, but for the time being I remain gratefully and gainfully employed!

Tuesday 9 March 2010

University Transcription Project

Today I had the pleasure of receiving 22 sheets of A4 paper in the daily post, printed both sides, comprising 2 contracts for 2 small university transcription projects, despatched to me in a large envelope with associated postage costs. Said papers requiring my signature and return to the originator before I could be paid for the tasks which had already been completed, on time and to specification as required.

One of life's conundrums methinks. Whilst it makes good sense to keep the good folk in the Post Office gainfully employed, not to mention boosting paper, printer and toner sales, providing administrative tasks for university staff and generally keeping the economy in good working order - the whole exercise is not exactly 'green'.

I wonder how many trees were used, and how big my carbon footprint was in terms of the transmission of said papers from A to B then back to A?

We do live in a funny old world don't we?   I wonder if we'll ever get it right.

Wednesday 10 February 2010

University Transcription and Snoring Cats

Today more university transcription is on the menu and there is something so therapeutic when the ancient pussy cat joins me in my office, settles down (after much 'paddling') on his fluggy thing in the cubby hole, and purrs contentedly. Well, that would be nice but actually as of writing this, he is SNORING very loudly! Still, he IS 18 and still going strong despite a heart murmur. Long live Harry.

Back to work then.

Saturday 16 January 2010

Legal Transcription

Today finds me working on legal transcription.

I have been transcribing immigration determinations for an Immigration Judge since 2001.  As it turned out, this line of work was a very lucky break for me; for once I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, knew the right person and had the skills which they were looking for.

For the most part, typing assignments and transcription projects arrive via word of mouth and repeat business, although I do continue to work hard canvassing, networking and advertising.  As a self-employed transcriptionist I can never rely on work simply materialising out of the blue - even though sometimes it does!  But despite the occasional period of uncertainty, as far as I'm concerned the advantages of autonomy and independence far outweigh any disadvantages.

As well as legal immigration work, transcription of legal documents for solicitors and barristers is now an important part of my portfolio and over the years I have carefully built a valuable list of referees along with the reputation for being trustworthy, reliable, completely confidential and of course efficient.

Life is so much easier now that most of my clients dictate and record on to digital media.  Gone are the times when bundles of tapes arrived at my door in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  These days virtually all my work arrives electronically, either as an email attachment or a digital file, securely uploaded via the internet.

Once I've finished my current legal obligations I shall be typing out research material for a UK academic.  Well, as the old saying goes - variety is the spice of life and I can't argue with that!

Sunday 3 January 2010

Transcription Services for University Research

It is the 3rd day of the New Year and all is well.  Today is a beautiful sunny day with wall to wall blue sky but crisp and cold.  Although it is a Sunday, the year has started on a busy note and today finds me transcribing university research material for a PhD student.  The quality of the dialogue on the recordings is not so good and I have some foreign dialects to grapple with, but after years of experience I seem to have found the knack of making sense of the haze of words.  Concentration cap on then and down to work!

Thursday 29 October 2009

Life Journey of a Transcriber

I began my career in 1976 after completing a year long course at a secretarial college. Equipped with typing, shorthand and book-keeping skills I left home, moved to London and began my working life. I rose through the ranks from junior typist, secretary, personal assistant and finally office manager before I gave up work in 1989 with 13 valuable years of administrative experience to become a full-time mother.

In the summer of 1993 when my children were 3 and 4 years old and I was thinking about returning to the workplace, a friend and neighbour who worked for a well-known employment agency suggested that I might like to earn a few pennies by becoming a home audio typist for a large national building society. I jumped at the opportunity and was busily typing documents for at least a month before my new-found employer decided that it would rather have the work done in-house. However, by this stage I had begun the process of informing HM Revenue & Customs that I was self-employed and decided that, despite this setback, I would continue as a sole trader.

First of all I chose a printing business and together we designed my logo - I now had a brand!  Then a supply of business stationery was printed for me but importantly, the printer pointed me in the direction of my local business advisory service, BuisnessLink, which has since been disbanded although government advice is still available. BusinessLink proved to be instrumental in getting me on my feet. This government run agency not only educated me on the pros, cons and general pitfalls of winging it on my own, but insisted that I provide them with a business plan and that I attend a range of seminars. Having satisfied itself that I was serious about my business venture, I was fortunate enough to get a grant from the government to help get me on my feet and purchase equipment so vital for my work.

Next on the agenda was the important task of realistically setting my rates. Clearly I would not want to price myself out of the market but I didn't want to be too cheap either! When I started up, the internet was only just coming into its own and so I scanned the telephone directory and contacted competitive businesses by telephone to ascertain what the going rates were.  These days this information is often readily available on competitor websites, including my own transcription services website. I am below the VAT threshold and find that this can often be advantageous when quoting for students or individuals who are unable to recoup VAT. Frequently, when I receive enquiries people do not factor the VAT aspect into their budget for transcription and are grateful when I point out that they need to check whether potential suppliers are VAT registered.

I did not have a business website until some years after I started trading in 1993.  However, if I were starting up in the here and now, once all the nitty gritty details of the business were sorted out - brand, image, prices, etc - then website design would be the next logical step.

So back to my journey then and armed with newfound knowledge and enthusiasm gained from business seminars, I set to the task of marketing my target audience (by telephone, post or email) which turned out to be legal companies, university research departments and academics, market research companies and film and television production organisations, all requiring recorded dialogue to be converted to the written word by the process of transcription.  I also took an advertisement out with my local Yellow Pages and joined a local business club to network and spread the word about my business. Again, advertising and networking these days is readily available online along with the important matter of SEO (search engine optimisation), a process of elevating a website in the search engine rankings so that our customers can find us!

As the jobs started to come in, at first I was transcribing dialogue recorded on a variety of audio tapes which arrived at my home office in all sorts of shapes and sizes. These days though, pretty much everything happens over the internet and I am sent digital audio files which I use with my transcription software. The finished transcripts are then usually emailed back to the client.  Copy typing assignments either arrive in handwritten or typed text, sometimes by post but frequently as scanned documents by email.

A crucial aspect the sole trader needs to factor into working life is that time and/or resources need to be allocated not only for carrying out the work generating the income but also for marketing, advertising and of course business accounts which will need to be submitted to HM Revenue & Customs on an annual basis.

I preferred to remain independent and did not outsource any of my assignments. Over the years I made some valuable contacts who were always happy to endorse my work and act as referees and my office was equipped with the latest technology which was a must to stay ahead of the game!

Being self-employed is VERY hard work, you don't get paid for holidays or sick leave and unless you have regular suppliers and/or repeat jobs life can be very uncertain. There were some tough times, mainly in terms of generating the business but I stuck with it and reaped the rewards both financially and in terms of the autonomy I enjoyed, and of course my children grew up with a mum who was always about, which as far as I am concerned is the biggest bonus of all.

A rose from my garden which I enjoy with great pleasure once the transcription work is done!